You Only Live Twice

Aside from the presence of major supporting characters Tiger Tanaka and Ernst Stavro Blofeld, and the Japanese setting, the novel You Only Live Twice, couldn't be much different from the film if you tried. There are no spaceship-eating orbiters, no flying mini-copters, and certainly not one huge base concealed within a volcano. The story is much smaller, much more personal, and better in its own way. Comparing the two formats beyond that, you'd need much more than a blog entry.James Bond is sent on an "impossible mission" to the Japanese secret service as an envoy, in an attempt to convince Tiger to give the British some cryptography information on the Russians. When there, Tiger tells him he'll give up the information if Bond will do them a favor and assassinate a thorn in their side: Blofeld. Blofeld, it seems, has been cultivating a 'death island' where people go to receive exotic deaths via various flowers. The Japanese don't like this new Kevorkian working nearby, and Bond is only too eager to avenge his wife's death.

That's about the plot of the entire story, but Fleming's style and the urgency and intrigue of the two services working on a straightforward tale of revenge and favors intertwined makes for a tight, engaging read. Also notable for the only time Bond attempts to write haiku poetry:
    Finally, after much crossing out and rewriting, Bond said, "Tiger, how's this? It makes as much sense as old Bassho and is much more pity." It said:

    "You only live twice:
    Once when you're born,
    Once when you look death in the face."

    Tiger clapped his hands softly. He said with real delight, "That is excellent, Bondo-san, most sincere." He took the pen and paper and jotted some Japanese characters up the page. He shook his head. "No, it won't do in Japanese. You have the wrong number of syllables. But it is a most honourable attempt." He looked keenly at Bond. "You were perhaps thinking of your mission?"

    "Perhaps," Bond said with indifference.
The novel also has the distinction of its conclusion being one of the most ambiguous and unsettling in the series, and one that, frankly, I was surprised to see, and I consider myself to be well above-average in my Bond lore. Yes, I am going to talk about it, spoil if you will, for several reasons, so skip the rest of the blog if you don't want to know.

First, it merits mentioning that not only does the world presume Bond dead, but that M himself writes an obit to appear in "The Times" about Bond. Within the article, M comments on what appears to be Fleming's books themselves:
    The inevitable publicity, particularly in the foreign press, accorded some of these adventures, made him, much against his will, something of a public figure, with the inevitable result that a series of popular books came to be written around him by a personal friend and former colleague of James Bond. If the quality of these books, or their degree of veracity, had been any higher, the author would certainly have been prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act. It is a measure of the disdain in which these fictions are held at the ministry that action has not yet -- I emphasize the qualification -- been taken against the author and publisher of these high-flown and romanticized caricatures of episodes in the career of an outstanding public servant.
But, in fact, Bond did survive the explosion of Blofeld's island, only suffering from total amnesia in the process. His rescuer, Kissy Suzuki decides then to tell him he is just a local fisherman in hopes of "keeping him". The plan works well, leading to a single jarring sentence:
    Kissy wondered what moment to choose to tell Bond that she was going to have a baby and whether he would then propose marriage to her.
Huh? Bond, a father? Apparently so, yet this is the only mention of it anywhere. Equally amazing is that Bond finds a crumpled piece of paper with the word "Vladivostok", and Kissy then allows the amnesiac Bond to travel to Russia in hopes of finding out who he is. The book ends there, with the ominous portent of Bond travelling into the lion's den without any idea of the danger. This sets up the plot of The Man with the Golden Gun perfectly, which I'm now keen to read, but, gee, thanks for the heads up, Suzuki!

Devil May Care

Unlike the John Gardner books of the 80's and 90's, Sebastian Faulks does not lift James Bond intact from his 60's roots and transplant him agelessly into the present. The story of Devil May Care is set to follow directly after events in The Man with the Golden Gun, the last Fleming novel, in 1968. Additionally, this Faulks "writing as Ian Fleming", so I infer the author is hoping to pick up right where the old author left off, with gritty stories, a real, tangible hero, and perhaps an exclamation mark or two. I found the concept and approach intriguing enough to give the new material a shot. It works well, for the most part, except for the nagging feeling I got occasionally when something was either particularly well-done or poorly done. With the concept of writing as someone else, this presents an immediate escape route if things don't go as planned. If you write that Bond appears to have an almost adolescent feel for love, you can say, well that's how Fleming wrote him in OHMSS (as I lamented), but if you happen to write an interesting and dramatic villainous-first-meet scenario reminiscent of a Goldfinger golf outing, you can say that was all you. Ultimately, it's a no-win scenario (or all-win, in Faulks case) to try and continue the series precisely as Fleming did, because let's just admit it, his books weren't the greatest things ever.

So, putting it in that perspective, how does Devil do? Well, it's got a sinister villain, a henchman, a girl in distress, Felix Leiter, M, and several red-shirts (Star Trek term for ally who is clearly dispensable); textbook Fleming, so it gets style points. What it also reminds us of is the difference between the movies and the books; James Bond of the book rarely uses gadgets to accomplish his mission -- he relies on instinct, skill, mental toughness, and the occasional bit of luck. Overall, it's an admirable attempt to add to the original Bond storyline.


It's difficult to escape an overall feeling of dread from the start of Dan Simmons' Endymion, the first installment of the sequel to his amazing Hyperion story. This does not in any way diminish its success as a worthy follow-up; rather, it accentuates the tragic turn society has taken since the Fall.We meet the 'author' of the story, Raul Endymion, writing his tale from his impenetrable life-sentencing holding chamber in orbit. But the start of his story, some 274 years after the end of Hyperion, finds a universe that is under dictatorial religious control, brought on by an unholy alliance of the Catholic church and an old adversary, the result being the 'gift' of virtual immortality for any who accept the church's sacrament. Having read the previous two entries in the series, we know for sure this is not a good thing, and I'm not talking just about the church being in power.

The 'villain' of the story is two-sided, but having it be religion would seem to speak directly to my worst fears. But, in an interview with author Dan Simmons, he revealed that his portrayal wasn't due to prejudices:
    As for the depiction of the Catholic church, it's not meant to be a prediction. It's really about what happens whenever religion and power go hand in hand. I'm not anti-church by any means; what interests me is that human beings are almost always corrupted by the control they wield over other human beings. That situation has been especially tragic for religions.
The book isn't dominated by religion by any means. Simmons' mysterious avatar of pain, the Shrike, this time represents a kind of dark protecting angel, and is particularly brutal in his handling of the churches' troops on first encounter. Far from being a deus ex machina, The Shrike later meets his match while trying to protect the young female prophet, a product of machine and man.

The final act is Rise of Endymion, and judging by all that needs to be done by the end of this book, the last of the entire series should be awesome.


Hellboy II

I've got to admit, I rolled my eyes in the first ten minutes of Hellboy II: The Golden Army. Not because of something onscreen that was so ridiculous, but that the something onscreen was a standard plot convention. It turned out to be ominous foreshadowing; Hellboy II is a pure mainstream follow-up to Hellboy, and by that I mean a mere pretty shadow of the genius that was the first film.It's just disappointing to see a frachnise that had a different kind of hero, of mythos, of humor be taken down a notch. Guillermo del Toro certainly brought his imaginative vision to the project, but frankly forgot to apply it to the PLOT or SCRIPT. Of course, the masses loved it, and even super-brain Walter Chaw gave it four stars. In reading his insightful take on the religious overtones of the picture, I was excited going in:
    His early proclamation that his goal is to remind humans of what it is to fear the dark is an essential, archetypical thing along the lines of Yeats' sylvan mythology, with us as the lost children in mortal peril of forgetting from whence we spawned and that which we believe to have dispelled with the light of reason and science. It's not a religious picture, it's a proto-religious picture. As one of the arch-baddies is revealed to be a green earth elemental, the death of whom announces the extinction of something wild and savage, Hellboy II shows itself to be a terminus film about this moment in time when humans find themselves struggling with the responsibility of their stewardship of the planet. In its way, the picture is Del Toro's manifestation of John Milton's "Hymn on the Morning of Christ's Nativity": a parade of pagan gods marching to their annihilation before the obliterating intolerance of Christian faith, seen here as a truce signed by creatures who have it in their nature to honour it even though it means their banishment to sewers and deep forests. The warning embedded in the picture is that the beings we elevate as saviours are the same ones who will eventually be responsible for the end of times. It sounds familiar. It ought to.
Alas, all that undertone and masterful subtlety doesn't make up for what feels like a rushed film (blame the editing, if you will, but the problem is there), stunted (if ANY) character development (especially compared to the layers presented in the original), and inexplicable dramatic devices (is there ANY reason that Hellboy should be carting around the baby from the smashed car while confronting the green giant beast except to say, "You woke up the baby!!"? It feels like del Toro --and co-screenwriter Mike Magnola (let's share the blame -- he is the creator of Hellboy, after all) -- tried to crib from the original where Hellboy is saving the kittens while battling the demon in the subway.).

I'm just bitter because it could have been so much more. It really did have a lot of entertaining scenes, especially between Hellboy/Liz and Abe/Nualla; their juxtaposition was the highlight of the film. So, all said, I don't regret spending money to see it in the theater, and I'll likely ring it up on DVD when available.

But, sometimes I lack perspective; when I compare it to Hancock, a solid if (again) too-short film, Hellboy II is clearly superior, but it could have been so much more, so I'm giving it a lower grade. Damn it -- now I'm sounding dangerously close to those teachers I had in high school who graded me different from the other students because they expected more. Oh well; the circle is now complete.


13 Bullets

David Wellington's take on the vampire genre, 13 Bullets, definitely leans more toward the horror side of the mythical creature than any of the other recent works. In fact, it is by far the goriest take I've seen.Wellington does invent a new take on the vampire, and it is by far not a pretty one. The world that he paints is one where vampires are known by the general populace to have existed, as recent as the 80's, but are believed to have been hunted to extinction, and for good reason. It's not a far stretch to say that their depiction is the opposite of the Twilight series (where vampires are beautiful gods), but then this differs from Moore's or Huston's or Meyer's take in that the perspective is from the vampire hunters, not at all from the vampires. For instance, here's a quick description of your typical vampire's mouth:
    Then he opened his mouth and grinned. Every one of his teeth was sharpened to a point. It wasn't like in the movies at all. It looked more like the mouth of a shark, with row after row of tiny knives embedded in his gums.
These vampires are, as usual, fast and extremely tough to kill. How tough? You have to destroy the heart, and sometimes that takes jaw-dropping measures:
    Arkely limped over to the tool cases. He found what he wanted and plugged it into a junction box. Caxton could hardly believe it when he came to stand next to the vampire's side, and electric jackhammer in his hands. He shoved the bit into the vampire's chest, just to the right of his left nipple. The same place Caxton had hit him with her wooden stake [ineffectually]. Arkeley switched on the hammer and pressed down hard with all his weight.
That passage stayed with me the longest after reading, maybe even longer than the rationalization why they need coffins -- trust me it's about as ick as you get.

All in all, an entertaining read, but I'll still stick with Charlie Huston for the "A" material.

God Is Dead

I've got good news and I've got bad news... This Kids in the Hall sketch is an acceptable version of the existence of God:

And this sketch is an acceptable fight against Satan:

I learned that the wa-wa pedal defeats evil, and I think Kids in the Hall was the beginning of the end of my childhood forced-upon-faith. Then again, I might have understood it better if I had only seen the "Dr. Seuss Bible":

What Do You Care What Other People Think?

Richard Feynman first captured my attention way back in 1986 when he was part of the commission to determine what happened with the Challenger accident. Feynman was a renowned Nobel-prize winning physicist who demonstrated an small experiment on live TV, at a commission hearing, which cut to the meat of the problem in a singular moment.

He was also known as a maverick with a great sense of humor, and his anecdotes were the stuff of legend. Apparently, not as infused with comic relief as his previous work, I read What Do You Care What Other People Think? mostly because the book chronicles his experience on the Challenger commission, something that has interested me ever since that televised experment 22 years ago.The entire second-half of the book details his commission experience, which he almost didn't accept, except for the prompting of his wife:
    My last chance was to convince my wife. "Look", I said. "Anybody could do it. They can get somebody else."

    "No," said Gweneth. "If you don't do it, there will be twelve people, all in a group, going around from place to place together. But if you join the commission, there will be eleven people, all in a group, going around from place to place together, while the twelfth one runs around all over the place, checking all kinds of unusual things. There probably won't be anything, but if there is, you'll find it." She said, "There isn't anyone else who can do that like you can."

    Being very immodest, I believed her.
His experience with the commission shows the disturbing, almost comical disparity between NASA engineers and NASA management. The opening statement from his official appendix on the commission is:
    It appears that there are enormous differences of opinion as to the probability of a failure with loss of vehicle and of human life. The estimates range from roughly 1 in 100 to 100 in 100,000. The higher figures come from working engineers, and the very low figures come from management... Since 1 part in 100,000 would imply that one could launch a shuttle each day for 300 years expecting to lose only one, we could properly ask, "What is the cause of management's fantastic faith in the machinery"?
Well, I'm glad we got that one disaster out of the way, so we have 300 years of safety left! (Managerial Mental Note: Don't show this to the Columbia crew.) His personal investigation is peppered with astonishing revelations of wrong-minded project management. In one instance, he notes:
    They point out that "since the shuttle is a manned vehicle, the probability of mission success is necessarily very close to 1.0." It is not clear what this phrase means. Does it mean it is close to 1 or that it ought to be close to 1?
But, Feynman also included the story of his first wife (from which the book gets its title), which comes from their relationship and their honesty:
    Arlene and I began to mold each other's personality. She lived in a family that was very polite, and was very sensitive to other people's feelings. She taught me to be more sensitive to those kinds of things, too. On the other hand, her family felt that "white lies" were okay.

    I thought one should have the attitude of "What do you care what other people think!" I said, "We should listen to other people's opinions and take them into account. Then, if they don't make sense and we think they're wrong, then that's that!"

    Arlene caught on to the idea right away. It was easy to talk her into thinking that in our relationship, we must be very honest with each other and say everything straight, with absolute frankness. It worked very well, and we became very much in love -- a love liek no other love that I know of.
Feynman's experience with the honest approach is heart-wrenching at times -- as when he discovers that his fiance has tuberculosis and her parents pressure him to not tell her -- and also comical:
    One time, at Princeton, I received a box of pencils in the mail. They were dark green, and in gold letters were the words "RICHARD DARLING, I LOVE YOU! PUTSY" It was Arlene (I called her Putsy).

    Well, that was nice, and I love her, too, but -- you know how you absentmindedly drop pencils around: you're showing Professor Wigner a formula, or something, and leave the pencil on his desk.

    In those days we didn't have extra stuff, so I didn't want to waste the pencils. I got a razor blade from the bathroom and cut off the writing in one of them to see if I could use them.

    The next morning, I get a letter in the mail. It starts out, "WHAT'S THE IDEA OF TRYING TO CUT THE NAME OFF THE PENCILS?"

    It continues: "Aren't you proud of the fact that I love you?" Then: "WHAT DO YOU CARE WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK?"...

    So I had to use the pencils with the names on them. What else could I do?
Geeky, quirky, interesting, moving, and informative, I am planning to get more from the late genius.

I hated 'The Dark Knight'!

I speculated with MaggieMay a few weeks back that The Dark Knight might get a 100% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. It didn't take long for a dissenting opinion of the suspicious or socially questionable variety to appear, and of course it is from a small publication.We all knew SOMEONE was going to not like it... and his reasons are as follows (review in entirety):
    Why do comic-book movies want to be serious literature? That’s the problem with this movie the same way it was with 2006’s "Superman Returns." Instead of being exciting pop-culture entertainment that forces the viewer to take it seriously, the movie takes itself too seriously – and misses the fun in the process. Well, almost – the late Heath Ledger seems to be having a great time as the tongue-flicking, homicidal Joker, played as a mad dog with a sense of humor. Whenever Ledger is on the screen, even when the script tries to slow him down, he barrels through with more gleeful evil than you can imagine.

    Otherwise, this long (2-1/2 hours!!), overplotted movie never misses a chance to hammer home what a tortured hero Batman is. Bale plays him as though his boxers are too tight. And there’s far too much of straight-arrow District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) and not nearly enough of his transformation into the crazed Two-Face (one of the movie’s best visual effects). Though some of the action sequences will drop your jaw, there’s too much gab between chases and too many generic battles to keep the movie from grinding along instead of flying. A tip for the future: The best tragic heroes don’t spend the movie talking about their own tragedy.
Ah, longing for the days of the Batman TV show of the 60's! How very!

Unfortunately, this kind of review is highly suspicious. It is just a case of a hack reviewer trying to get free website hits by disliking a movie that is getting incredible reviews and buzz. I can just see him sitting at his computer, wracking his brain, trying to come up with some reason to pan the film. His solution is to go with the "I miss the camp" tactic combined with "it's too long!!!" whine.

That is what I hope is happening. For, if this isn't an obvious attempt of self-web-promotion, then I seriously pity this donkey for being trapped in the present. Of course, I have to remind myself, as I have done before, that not everyone 'gets' the same things. Especially when their brains hurts from trying to think.


Hellboy II Viral

Well, as predicted, Hellboy II is getting some major buzz, even from James Lipton, below:


On Her Majesty's Secret Service

After reading books from two British authors written around the same time period, both about spies and spying, I'm beginning to get a taste for it. But whereas Our Man in Havana is satirical, Ian Fleming's eleventh novel in the James Bond series, On Her Majesty's Secret Service is deadly serious.Since I grew up watching Bond films, I went about reading the books as an afterthought; so much is made of the ballyhooed author that I was curious to see what the character in the books is like compared to film.

I never liked the OHMSS film, and I can't imagine I ever will. I find it to be cheesy, somewhat corny, and worst of all boring. Knowing now the differences between book and film, I'm sure that the film was a victim of the times, much like the Roger Moore films of the 70's (and Diamonds Are Forever). All you need do is look at the poster below and cringe at its tag line of "Far Up! Far Out! Far More":The Bond movies started becoming a separate entity than the Bond books early on, focusing on gadgets, lust, outrageous action sequences, and one-liners. (With the rare exception, hopefully that era has been subdued with the most faithful (and best) adaptation ever, Casino Royale.) I can say I could go on about it, or how I liked the book better because of this or that, but I don't feel like going into one of those cliched debates. But, I was looking forward to the book because I wanted to see how Fleming plotted out this most crucial of Bond stories. I can say that at least the movie followed the basic plot, which is a lot more than I can say about You Only Live Twice, the book follow-up but movie predecessor. Huh?

(Aside, opinions are like assholes: everybody's got one. In as much as my old friend loves OHMSS -- "On Her Majesty's Secret Service is not a disaster. Quite the opposite: this is the best James Bond film yet made. Yes, I said "best"." -- I will never understand how he despises The Usual Suspects. So it is.)

Fleming's action writing is flat-out solid. His Bond is a no-nonsense realist in this manner, who does not enjoy having to kill an adversary, even when it is in self-defense. That said, he draws a world where characters are often brutally dispatched, and a sense of timing and luck matter as much to the hero as being ruthlessly efficient. Here's a passage from when Bond makes his escape from Piz Gloria:
    The guard was there, bent over something that looked like a time sheet. The neck was offered. Bond dropped the Gillette in his pocket and stiffened the fingers of his left hand into the old Commando cutting edge. He took the two steps into the rooom and crashed the hand down on the back of the offered neck. The man's face hit the table on top with a thud, bounced up and half turned towards Bond. Bond's right flashed out and the face of the Rolex disintegrated against the man's jaw. The body slid sluggishly off its chair on to the carpet and lay still, its legs untidy as if in sleep. The eyes fluttered and stared, unseeing, upwards. Bond went round the desk and bent down. There was no heartbeat. Bond straightened himself. It was the man he had seen coming back alone from the bob-run on his first morning, when Bertil had met with his accident. So! Rough justice!
That kind of stuff illustrates his edge, but also a Fleming habit that I find to be almost comical -- the overuse of exclamation marks when relaying Bond's thoughts. "What a sport he was!" "He must stop acting the part, being a stage nobleman!" "So that was that!" "Did I leave the iron on!" Okay, that last one was from Airplane, but it just makes me giggle to think that James Bond is so excited in his own head.

The other primary reason I read the book was to get Fleming's take on the one relatinship Bond had where he tied the knot -- Tracy. On this, I have to give a tempered pass to the way it is presented, because this was 1963, and Fleming very much wrote in the style of the uber-masculine dominate fantasy male, sadly at the expense of developing female characters, including his wife.

(The best one-shot encapsulation from the movies that comes to mind is a scene from Goldfinger, where Bond is getting a massage (by a girl named 'Dink' -- the overly sexual names are by and large movie constructs) and Felix Leiter comes to have a meeting. Bond literally spanks the girl to get her to move along and his explanation to her is "Man-talk." Brilliant! Just like in Sex And The City!)

That said, the entire basis for the "relationship" is this: Tracy is depressed and suicidal over the loss of a son (from a previous marriage), and has been acting erratically. Bond happens onto her in casino where she makes a large bet and loses, but has no money to pay. He gallantly pays he tab, whereupon she offers to pay him back by sleeping with him. Well, after a solid day of fucking like grand-champions, not only is she cured of the blues, but now in love with him. As Fleming would write, Quelle romance! It's just really hard not to see this as a skewed male fantasy and horrible sexist stereotype. I mean, you can practically see some male chauvinist diagnosing Tracy and going, "You know, what you really need is a good fucking." Thanks, doc! Cured!

So, they don't have any interaction thereafter until she saves his life after his Piz Gloria escape, where as a complete afterthought, he thinks:
    Bond suddenly thought, Hell! I'll never find another girl like this one. She's got everything I've ever looked for in a woman. She's beautiful, in bed and out. She's adventurous, brave, resourceful. She's exciting always. She seems to love me.
Note that she 'seems' to love him is a distant sixth on his list of marriage attributes.
    She'd let me go on with my life. She's a lone girl, not cluttered with friends, relations, belongings.
Except for that father who is the biggest criminal in Italy. But what a good fellow!
    Above all, she needs me. It'll be someone for me to look after.
Why not become a nurse?
    I'm fed up with all these untidy, casual affairs that leave me with a bad conscience. I wouldn't mind having children. I've got no social background into which she would or wouldn't fit. We're two of a pair, really. Why not make it for always?
Well, there you have it, a match made in heaven. And kids wouldn't be much of a bother, as long as they stay out of my sexy lifestyle, of course! That's the entirety of the James Bond thought process and really that about the whole of their relationship until she gets shot in the end.

Fortunately, the 'romance' is a minor part of the book, like Bond's afterthought of commitment. The central plot of the book is Blofeld's plans to conduct biological warfare on the United Kingdom, a plan which resonates a lot stronger today than it did in years past. In fact, the briefing which Bond is given is extremely light and almost childish compared to what every American knows today. Still the tight action, combined with a plot than rings eerily prescient, makes for a fun read.

(As a final note, in the movie, Blofeld's global threat of biological attacks is for ransom. And for what? So that he will be given general amnesty for his crimes, basically a pardon. Given what we know now, this would be analagous to Dr. Evil holding the world ransom for... one MILLION dollars!)


Let's just get this out of the way: I cried like a little girl at the end of WALL-E, not because of the ending, but because of the ending that almost was. I'll get to that in a moment.I think the last animated film I've seen in the theater was South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, back in 1998. (Coincidentally, I also cried during the first 15 minutes of that film -- laughing.) I do not have any recollection of seeing another animated film in the theater beyond that. Ever. Maybe it is because there weren't a lot of animated films made in the 70's, when I was a child, and certainly since I don't have any children I haven't been forced to watch them since. This is not to say that I haven't seen the occasional animated film, but frankly the subject matter of adult-oriented films is usually (an exception: The Incredibles, which I love) preferable to the plots of animated features.

WALL-E is a smart, perhaps too smart, film, as dystopian an animated movie as I've seen. Entertaining from start-to-finish, on the old grading scale, I'd give it a B+ or an A-. It's got so many clever references, that it would be madness to try and list them all. To suffice, you benefit largely from having seen a lot of film. Or, to quote a friend, "Any movie that can pay homage to both the Love Boat and 2001: A Space Odyssey in the same breath is rock solid." But it could have been so, so much more, if for one thing.

Now this is to do about the ending, and if you haven't seen the movie, the following paragraph contains SPOILERS. I woudn't say that they will ruin the movie for you (they are hinted at in several reviews I read), but you have been warned.

I cried for my usual existential reasons. It really hit me out of the blue, when EVE reconstructed a shattered and broken WALL-E with his own spare parts, when he lit up and was back to being an automaton. At that moment, the notion that WALL-E's reward or price for saving mankind would be to lose his personality (or, really, his SOUL) was mind-blowing to me, and way more tragic than that Atonement shite.

However, I KNEW they would bring him back in the end to have a "happy ending", because this IS a "kids flick" and that would be way too much for children to handle. That moment, when WALL-E wakes up some minutes later (due to the hand-holding), was actually anti-climactic for me. I was disappointed. It was being shown a glimpse of something so beautifully tragic and then having it yanked away. Those few minutes in the film, I was streaming tears. And when I think of just that moment, my heart feels a little heavier.

I should point out that the happy ending doesn't ruin the movie at all. If they did leave him stipped of himself, though, I'd say it was an absolute ballsy, stunning end. As it was, still B+.


Battlestar Galactica Mid-Season Finale

It took me a while to catch up on my spring viewing, but I saved the best for last. It has been no secret that I hold Battlestar Galactica as one of the best shows ever, and this final season has been absolutely riveting.The mid-season finale delivered not only a completion of long-sought climax, but opened the door, as the series as done time and again, to all new questions and possibilities previously unfathomed. Now you will indulge me just two(non-spoiler) of my favorite quotes of the season:
  • Laura Roslin to Tory, after it is revealed she's been 'sleeping with the enemy': "I don't care whether you are on your knees in prayer or just on your knees, you will get the information." Bam!
  • Lee Adama to Colonel Tigh, after a late hour revealation: "You motherfrakker." Bam!

Megan Fox

Always reliable for a good laugh, What Would Tyler Durden Do? posts a non-story about Megan Fox, but only because of an insight he had over the weekend:
    This is boring but I was thinking over the weekend that a good way to gauge how hot a chick is would be to figure how long she would have to be dead before you would not have sex with her. So I ran the numbers through the computer and it turns out Megan Fox is the big winner. She could be dead for almost three days and I'd still fuck her. So congratulations Megan Fox. You must be honored. It must be exciting to know that even after you die, you and I can still get it on.
In a completely related story, I don't really find Megan Fox "all that". Sure, she's cute, and not like a puppy dog but more like a whore, but just not my cup of tea. I mean, look, here's a picture of her blowing someone:But hey, I've been wrong before.


Got forwarded this by an old roommate, and yes, it IS priceless. Not only because it is funny, but because it will piss certain people off, which is even better.